Monee Gagliardo: Innovator of the Xirvana Brand
Monee Gagliardo is President and CEO of Xirvana Brands, Inc., a clothing line designed to “lift your spirit” and support strong and powerful women. Through innovation, each design integrates functionality and technology. This produces results that enhance a body’s performance, assisting to maintain postural alignment while creating a “stillness of the mind” by reducing back pain caused by muscle fatigue and repetitive motion.
Monee worked in the healthcare community for over 20 years as an intensive care nurse. Her passion has always been active outdoor living and caring for others. While working as a nurse the idea flourished to develop a line of clothing that could help support healthcare worker’s backs and support those individuals who lead an active lifestyle.
IM: Hi, Mo. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me today. You have such an interesting story along with this wonderful product you’ve developed. Can you start with telling me about your brand and what it does, who you made it for and how you came to the conclusion of doing this in the first place?
MG: Yes, so I started Xirvana while I was working as an intensive care nurse at the community hospital where I was employed. I found that a lot of my nursing friends and patients had back pain from doing daily work and slouching over. My staff was always aching at the end of a 12-hour shift, so we would have physical therapy come and wrap our backs with ace wraps to pull our shoulders back and it really helped relieve us of our back pain. I began looking online for something that had that type of support and came up blank. So from that point, I came up with the idea to develop a clothing line that integrated that necessary back support for my peers and coworkers who worked in healthcare. During that time there were laws that were being passed because back injuries in the healthcare industry are so frequent. 50% of all back injuries on disability claims are filed by nurses. It’s one of the highest back injury disabilities in the U.S., so I saw a need for this type of product and started working on it.
IM: Interesting, and what did you come up with?
MG: Our brand is called Xirvana. The name came from the symbol of X which is the ancient symbol of transformation and change, then we embed it with the word “Nirvana”, which is defined as a place of no pain. The brand transforms you out of back pain and supports your posture and gives you stability. Our healthcare workers on a given day will push hundreds of pounds in weight. The average patient now weighs around 200 pounds, and then you have all of the equipment on top of that while moving patients around. 80% of the healthcare industry is made up of women, so when you’re working in the ICU and recovery rooms, a lot of these patients are anesthetized so they can’t help carry their own weight. A lot of back injuries were stemming from a combination of this and our heavy workload. This is why we developed the need for a garment that we would wear under our scrubs that would support our backs to prevent injuries and give us some relief.
IM: That’s fantastic, it seems a person who is not in the healthcare industry would also benefit from this, I would assume. For example, people who enjoy athletics or outdoor activities, even people who sit at a desk all day. Really for anyone who has any type of ailments like you’re describing would probably help them immensely.
MG: Oh, absolutely. Outside of work I am a sports addict. I travel with my partner and we go on these outdoor adventures. I would come home with a sore back from a long day at work and the truck would be loaded with kayaks and bikes and we would rock climb, so as a result, my back would be in agony, but I couldn’t let it affect my work or daily life. So I needed to create something that I could not only wear to work, but would support my back while doing my activities so I could stay out and play and enjoy my life.
IM: It seems like this product could be the answer to a lot of pain. On another note, I know that you had a horrible near-death experience while you were working on Xirvana. How did working on this product help get you through that traumatic experience?
MG: I started working on Xirvana in 2014. I began putting up all the drawings on the table, and 6 months later it was time to pick up the prototypes. I became a victim of a violent crime and had a near-death experience as a result. A man came up behind me and beat me over the head with a mallet and tried to kill me. As a result, I suffered a traumatic brain injury. I had a concussion for over 3 months. I had to overcome PTSD which is something that will probably always be with me. While I was healing, I was determined to stay focused and Xirvana was pretty much the only thing that could keep my mind off of what had happened. I continued to work on developing this brand and it offered me much comfort during one of the most challenging times of my life. I had to spend a year trying to prosecute this guy and putting him behind bars, which was successful. Xirvana gave me the strength to keep moving forward and keep my mind off the negatives, and to just keep focusing on the now. My goal through all of this was not only to create clothing that supports women’s posture but to also empower women. The brand has since become a symbol of women’s empowerment, and cultivating values of strength and developing confidence while standing strong.
IM: That’s quite an inspiring journey you’ve been on, thank you for sharing that with us. Could you talk a little about the launch of Xirvana?
MG: We’ve done a soft launch Our web site is up currently. You can purchase on xirvanabrand.com.